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Make link and target document arrive at user site simultaneously

We have a help desk database that is replicated to about 50 sites worldwide, in which we use document links (link messages) to support the workflow process. For example, when a new request is created, a link message notification is sent to a dispatcher. Often, we see that a link message reaches a user before the document it points to has been replicated to that user's server. This leads to some confusion.

Do you have any suggestions how we can make the link and the target document arrive at the user site simultaneously? We would like to simply delay the link message an hour, but can't find a standard way to do that. We have considered other solution like:

  • Speeding up the server-server replication frequency (currently set to 10 minutes).
  • Re-writing the mail-functions, so mails are sent by (local) agents instead of by users.

Unfortunately, none of these solutions seem very attractive. It would be better if we could specify that *this* database must replicate as fast as mail replicates.

This is a common issue in replicated applications that use link messages.

It is possible to specify the replication priority of a database in the database replication settings dialog, using the "Other" tab. Servers may be programmed to replicate "high" priority databases as often as you like -- this is a setting you specify by creating a replication connection document in the server address book. You may have multiple connection documents for the same pair of servers, giving different schedules for different priority levels. You may even create a connection document to replicate one specific database very often, using the "Files/Directory Paths to Replicate" field.

Delaying all e-mail replication to the same speed as highest-priority replication is probably possible -- but, a bad idea from the standpoint of keeping your job. Furthermore, if the sender's and receiver's e-mail server is the same server, replication speed is not an issue -- the message is delivered nearly immediately. And just because users have the same mail server, doesn't mean they use the same replica of your application.

The only way I know of to delay the receipt of a specific piece of mail (as opposed to all mail), is to delay sending the mail. I'm guessing that your current implementation has the workflow mail sent immediately by the same code that saves the document during the previous workflow step. Instead, you could have the e-mail sent by a server agent; if you have one that runs every half-hour, it can detect documents for which a notice should be sent, make sure the document was modified at least an hour ago, and if not, save that document for the next run. Use the UpdateProcessedDoc method to selectively mark as processed only those documents for which notices have already been sent.

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